Posted by Doug Cunningham | 2 weeks ago
A Wisconsin couple died Friday and two other people are in critical condition after a lighting strike touched down near the White House, authorities said.© UPI
James Mueller, 76, and Donna Mueller, 75, died from their injuries, according to Washington Metro Police, who said they were sheltering under a tree when the lightning struck.
Two others are hospitalized in critical condition.
"We are saddened by the tragic loss of life after the lightning strike in Lafayette Park," the White House said in a statement Friday.
"Our hearts are with the families who lost loved ones, and we are praying for those still fighting for their lives."
Upon arrival, first responders found two men and two women with life-threatening injuries.
"I was just in a state of shock," witness David Root said according to NBC Washington. "I just couldn't believe it. Was surreal.
"I have never seen anything like this in my entire life."
Authorities said uniformed officers of the Secret Service and Park Police witnessed the lightning strike and immediately began to render aid to the victims.
The relationships among the victims weren't immediately known and the strike is being investigated.
Earlier Thursday, the National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning and flash flood warning for Washington.
The strike isn't the first time that people have been injured in that manner in Lafayette Park, which is right across the street to the north of the White House. In June 2020, two National Guardsmen were hurt after a bolt touched down there.